Fifteen-year-old Alexis Martinez (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) won the silver medal in the female finweight division on the opening day of the Pan American Taekwondo Championships in Caguas, Puerto Rico, on Friday.
Martinez opened the day with a victory of Columbia's Jessica Ramirez after the referee stopped the contest in the second round. She then went on to score a 5-3 win over 2007 Junior Pan Am Champion Yvette Yong of Canada, and then a 5-3 victory over Puerto Rico's Zoraida Santiago to reach the final. In the gold medal match, Martinez lost a tight 2-1 decision to Mexico's Laura Rojo.
The Pan Am Championships are using the LaJust electronic scoring system during the weekend's competition.
The other three American fighters in action on Friday all lost in their first-round matches. Male finweight Charles Smith (Fort Washington, Md.) dropped a 5-4 decision to Luis Casado of the Dominican Republic, male heavyweight Brett Schuschereba (Derry, N.H.) lost to Haiti's Jimmy Chery, 5-1, and female heavyweight Lauren Cahoon (Jacksonville, Fla.) lost 1-0 to Puerto Rico's Lydia Nieves.
The three-day event runs through Sunday, with the remaining schedule for U.S. fighters as follows:
Saturday, October 4
-Male flyweight James Howe II (San Ramon, Calif.)
-Female flyweight Charlotte Craig (Murrieta, Calif.)
-Male bantamweight Bernard Posey (Greensboro, N.C.)
-Female bantamweight Eleni Koutsilianos (Astoria, N.Y.)
-Male middleweight Jayson Grant (Worcester, Mass.)
-Female middleweight Dalia Avivi (Davie, Fla.)
Sunday, October 5
-Male featherweight Steven Lin (Chatham, N.J.)
-Female featherweight Aziza Chambers (Springfield, Ohio)
-Male lightweight Tal Moriah (Houston, Texas)
-Female lightweight Whitney Daniel (Virginia Beach, Va.)
-Male welterweight Rudford Hamon (West Palm Beach, Fla.)
-Female welterweight Paige McPherson (Sturgis, S.D.)
Author: Bill Kellick
Organization: USA Taekwondo